Toshiba Classic: Round 2 notebookMarch 06, 2010
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Cloudy, breezy and cool with highs in the low-60s. A brief rain shower passed through the area causing a suspension of play from 10:04-11:15 a.m. Winds were from the SW at 10-15 mph with occasional higher gusts.
• For the second time in his last two starts, Fred Couples will head into the final round in sole possession of the lead. Couples is 12 under after 36 holes and leads Tom Lehman and Chien Soon Lu by two strokes. Loren Roberts and Ronnie Black trail by four shots. Three weeks ago at The ACE Group Classic, Couples led Dan Forsman by two strokes after 36 holes and then held off a fierce Sunday charge by Tommy Armour III, who closed with a 61. Couples made a critical birdie at No. 17 in Naples and went on to a one-stroke win, his first Champions Tour victory.
• Couples ran his string of consecutive rounds in the 60s to eight when he fired a 7-under 64 on Saturday. He is now 50 under in his eight rounds on the Champions Tour.
• Here is how the second-round leaders have fared since the start of the event in 1995.
Year Second-Round Leader/Margin Winner/Margin 1995 Tom Wargo/132/+1 George Archer/199/+1 1996 Jim Colbert/133/+5 Jim Colbert/201/+2 1997 David Graham/134/+1 Bob Murphy/207/Playoff 1998 Hubert Green/133/+1 Hale Irwin/200/+1 1999 John Jacobs/134/+1 Gary McCord/204/Playoff 2000 Allen Doyle/136/+1 Allen Doyle/136/+1 (36 holes due to rain) 2001 Terry Mauney/130/+1 Jose Maria Canizares/202/Playoff 2002 Hale Irwin/131/+3 Hale Irwin/196/+5 2003 Rodger Davis/129/+2 Rodger Davis/197/+4 2004 Purtzer/Hatalsky/131 Tom Purtzer/198/+1 2005 Mark Johnson/130/+3 Mark Johnson/200/+4 2006 Purtzer/Thorpe/Eastwood/135 Brad Bryant/204/+1 2007 Jay Haas/129/+1 Jay Haas/194/+2 2008 Bernhard Langer/130/+3 Bernhard Langer/199/Playoff 2009 Bernhard Langer/Mark OMeara/133/E Eduardo Romero/202/+1
• Couples is bidding to become the sixth player in tournament history to win this tournament in his first appearance. The five players who have done it previously include Gary McCord (1999), Jose Maria Canizares (2001), Rodger Davis (2003), Mark Johnson (2005) and Brad Bryant (2006).
• Couples is not the only player to run off eight straight rounds in the 60s this year. Lehman, who is currently tied for second, shot a 6-under-par 65 on Saturday to give him eight straight as well. Lehman is 40 under and has finished fourth and tied for fifth this year.
• Here are second-round leader Fred Couples' statistics through two rounds.
Fairways Hit -- 14 of 28 (50.0%/T73)
Greens in Regulation -- 30 of 36 (83.3%/T2)
Putts Per Round -- 28.5/T18
Driving Distance -- 296.5/1
• David Peoples is making a nice showing in his first Champions Tour start. He moved up 10 places with a 3-under 68 on Saturday and is currently tied for 10th. He was slated to make his debut three weeks earlier at The ACE Group Classic but pulled out prior to the opening round with a rib injury.
• Lu (Taiwan) could become the first Asian-born player to win a Champions Tour event since Japan's Isao Aoki won the 2002 Instinet Classic in Princeton, N.J. Lu had qualified for the Toshiba Classic by finishing in the top-10 at the Allianz Championship after open qualifying. Lu played on the Nationwide Tour in 1992 with his best finish in 11 starts a tie for fifth at the Louisiana Open. In that same event, Tom Lehman tied for 12th.
• Only 20 players in the 78-player field managed rounds in the 60s on Saturday after 36 players did so in the opening round. The field averaged 71.205 compared to the opening round average of 70.975.
• Hole No. 15 ranked as the easiest on the course again with an average of 4.667 (-.333). There were two eagles and 27 birdies. The most difficult was No. 8 with an average of 3.308 (+.308).
• Olin Browne's string of consecutive holes without a three-putt ended at 126 when he three-putted No. 15 on Saturday. That had been the best current streak on the Champions Tour. Black now takes over the lead in that category with 122 straight.